David E. Shaw Prize to Support Maine Entrepreneurs

PORTLAND, Maine, February 19, 2019 – The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE) announced today that David E. Shaw will sponsor a $25,000 prize to a winning entrepreneur at MCE’s annual “Top Gun” Showcase event scheduled for May 23, 2019.  Shaw is Managing Partner of Black Point Group, co-founder and Chairman of Covetrus (formerly Vets First Choice), founder and former Chairman and CEO of IDEXX Laboratories, and founding CEO and Chair of Ikaria – a critical care pharmaceutical company.  Beyond these, he has played leadership roles in building numerous other business and public service ventures, including Second Century Stewardship at Acadia National Park, and The Jackson Laboratory where he served as board chair in the transformation of this world-renowned genetics institute. 

“Entrepreneurial businesses are the engine of our economy - driving growth, innovation, and opportunity locally and across the world.  I am pleased to join MCE in supporting the next generation of great Maine-based companies,” said Shaw.  “I am grateful for the wonderfully fulfilling life that business and social entrepreneurship have created for me and the teams I have worked with around the world.  This new award is established in the timeframe of our recent public offering for Covetrus and on the 35th anniversary of the founding of my first business, IDEXX Laboratories.”  A short film honoring the early IDEXX team can be viewed here.

 Top Gun is an annual program for competitively selected Maine entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-impact weekly learning sessions held in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn, Rockland and Waterville. Beginning with just a dozen entrepreneurs in Portland in 2009, this year, Top Gun will serve 47 startup businesses thanks to regional partnerships. To date, Top Gun has assisted 200+ entrepreneurs across the state in launching their businesses.

Entrepreneurs from each Top Gun location in Bangor, Rockland, Portland, Lewiston/Auburn and Waterville will compete in the beginning of May in local pitch-off events to determine the top two regional finalists, who will compete at the Showcase on May 23rd and earn a chance to win one of two $25,000 cash prizes. In addition to the Shaw Prize, Maine Technology Institute will once again provide another $25,000 cash prize. Entrepreneurs will be required to deliver a 5-minute pitch followed by Q & A from a panel of judges including investors, successful Maine entrepreneurs, and economic development professionals. 

The Top Gun program is supported by MCE partners including the University of Maine, the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, MaineStream Finance, and the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at Thomas College. MCE receives funding support from corporate and non-profit sponsors, local businesses, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additionally, Maine Center Ventures, the University of Maine System’s new Graduate and Professional Studies initiative, will host the 2019 Top Gun Showcase at University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Hall.

About MCE: 

Founded in 1997, MCE is an independent non-profit organization based in Portland that helps the most promising Maine companies launch and grow through training, connections, and “hands-on” support from dozens of volunteer advisors and business mentors.  Please visit www.mced.biz.

About Black Point Group:

Black Point Group is a private investment partnership focused on long-term value creation via active involvement in public and private growth companies. The partnership seeks to leverage its operational and investment expertise in life science, technology and other domains, including significant involvement in public service.  For more information, please visit: www.blackpointgroup.com

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